Years ago (before we had children) we were in a monthly dinner club with friends, and it was an absolute blast. Everyone involved enjoyed cooking and entertaining (which is somewhat of a requirement), and I especially liked having an excuse to go all out on a dinner party for friends. After all, you don’t mind going through an extreme amount of effort to entertain guests when you know it is going to be reciprocated!
So, since our kids are very much out of the baby stage now (at ages 3 and 5), we decided that we felt ready to take on something like our old dinner club again. This time it is with a different group of friends that all live in our neighborhood, and we settled for getting together every other month to make it more manageable for all our busy families. We were the first to host last night, and I am happy to report that it was a success!
When we planned our dinner club menus in the old days it was all very themed (Asian, Northwest, Mardi Gras, etc.), and I am ashamed to admit that I barely put any thought into using ingredients that were in season. And I certainly didn’t buy anything from the farmer’s market, either. Well, things are obviously a little different now, so last night our dinner club spread was not only all real food (of course), but the menu was also planned around using as many local ingredients as possible. Even the flowers that decorated our table were grown locally as well!
Here’s what we served along with the wine pairings and some photos (click to enlarge)….
- Hors d’oeuvres: Homemade Parmesan Cheese Crisps topped with Pesto and Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes, Goat Cheese stuffed Figs, Olives, and Candied Pecans served with Ostatu Rioja Blanco
- First course: Heirloom Cucumber Gazpacho served with Renaud Macon Villages Chardonnay
- Main course: Seared Scallops, Summer Squash Fritters, and Lime Yogurt Sauce served with Annabella Carneros Pinot Noir
- Dessert: Homemade South Carolina Peach Sorbet topped with Honey Vanilla Cookie Crumble and Whipped Cream served with Saracco Moscato d Asti
When I was first working on the menu for this event, I thought that we might need some chicken skewers on the appetizer spread so we were at least serving some sort of meat dish. Nixed due to their lack of elegance, we actually ended up having more than enough food without them. My husband and I were both very pleased with the way things turned out as well as the combination of flavors. His favorite dish was the scallop entrée and mine was the dessert. What can I say…I still have quite the sweet tooth!
Even though it was a lot of work to orchestrate the food, décor, and wine we truly enjoyed every minute of it. Entertaining is just in my blood! I was of course very focused on preparing for this event for the better part of the week so now that it is over I have not a clue as to what my family will eat over the next few days (or even tonight). I used to always have our weekly menus planned out to a “T”, and I do wish I could get my act together in that department again. In the meantime though, I made a list of all the fresh produce that we have on hand (thanks to our garden, CSA box from Poplar Ridge Farm, and Farmer’s Market)…
- Butternut Squash
- Summer Squash
- Tomatoes (a ton of tomatoes)
- Bell peppers
Now I just need to muster up the energy to whip up some sort of meal plan to utilize this random assortment of veggies. Off the top of my head I am thinking we will see some butternut squash ravioli, homemade spaghetti sauce, and zucchini bread in our future. But other than that I am clueless so I better get to work!